Detroit Lions vs. New England Patriots: Preseason Week 3 Game Review

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The Lions vs. Patriots Match Up Was Not What Lions’ Fans Wanted To See Out Of Their Starters, But There Were Some Positive Takeaways.

Lions vs. Patriots: Preseason Week 3

The third week of preseason is typically considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season. The starters see the most live action they’ve seen all preseason. We get to take a look at what the coaches intend to run in terms of scheme and play calling.

This gives fan the best look at what they can expect from their team in the regular season. This Lions vs. Patriots match up gave us a lot to take away going into the regular season. The Lions are not ready. Both their first team offense and defense were embarassed by the Patriots.

The Patriots are among the league’s best teams, if not the best but this is not what you want to see out of your team. The coaches need to get this team ready for the regular season. They looked lost tonight.

Lions vs. Patriots: Defense

The defense got off to a really rough start, getting marched on through the first drive via a series of passes to the slot receivers. They followed it up with giving up a touchdown on the first play of their second drive on the field. Lawson had tight coverage on a deep ball along the left sideline, but couldn’t break up the pass. As the first real test the Lions first team defense faced this year, this was very concerning.

Jarrad Davis needs some improvement in coverage. This wasn’t a huge weakness for him in college but he needs to improve in order to survive at the NFL level. Coverage from the linebackers was a huge issue for the Lions last year and they cannot afford to get worse at the position going into this year.

He made a lot of plays, collecting eight tackles in the first half but was out of position on a number of plays. These things come with being a rookie. He will improve with more experience.

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Jalen Reeves-Maybin, the other rookie linebacker, had a really nice showing. He looked really good when he was getting downfield with the play in front of him. He made some nice hits on the ballcarriers and looks like he will be pushing for a starting spot sooner rather than later.

A’shawn Robinson continues his really nice preseason. His pass rushing ability appears to have really improved. This is an area that he struggled in during his rookie season. The Lions have really lacked pressure from their interior defensive lineman. If A’shawn can provide that this year, it should help across the defense.

Quandre Diggs gave up a long pass that was just out of his reach but otherwise had a really nice showing. He made several nice open field tackles and his coverage on the deep pass was beaten by a beautiful pass from Tom Brady.

While the interior of the line looked improved, the defensive end position was concerning. Ziggy Ansah isn’t back yet, so we should expect this to improve but this lack of punch from the depth is not what you want to see against starting offensive linemen.

Containing outside run plays was an issue last year and it continued to be an issue in this game. This is one of many things that the Lions showed little to no improvement on in this game. This will not be acceptable when the regular season comes around.

Glover Quinn intercepted Tom Brady on a deep pass to the end zone that appeared to be a miscommunication between Brady and Hogan. Quinn should be much improved with a return to a more favorable role in the defense. He had to support poor linebacker coverage far too often last year. He should be able to play deep more often this year, which is a better fit for his skill set.

Lions vs. Patriots: Offense

The Lions offense also had a really rough start. First play of their first drive, Golden Tate coughs up the football along the right sideline. The second drive went three and out after Matthew Stafford throws a crossing route to Kenny Golladay a yard short of the sticks. Their following drive also ended in three and out with a pass short of the sticks. Three and outs were a problem for the Lions last year that need to be rectified.

The Lions initial first down came with under a minute left in the first quarter. At that point, they were already down 24 points. Neither side of the ball showed well early.

Despite the early struggles, the offense came alive late in the first team’s showing. Stafford went 8 for 9 in the final drive of the first half and the first drive of the second half.

Ameer Abdullah is vital to the success of the offense this year. He is far and away the best running back on the roster and it is not particularly close. He showed that he looks ready for the season and looks just as explosive as we remember. As long as Abdullah can stay on the field, the running game should be vastly improved.

Ameer Abdullah brings the potential to take the Lions running game to a level that fans have not seen in years. He didn’t look afraid to run between the tackles and showed nice leg drive, despite his smaller stature.

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The Lions used Abdullah primarily between the tackles in this game. This is strange usage for a player that is so electric in open space. He excelled on outside stretch plays, but ran an alarmingly high percentage of his carries between the tackles. It is nice to see that he is capable of this type of running but it would be nicer to see the coaches utilize his skill set more appropriately.

The offensive line looks really good in pass protection; Stafford saw very little pressure. This is very encouraging for an offensive line that is still missing its left tackle in Taylor Decker. The passing game wasn’t clicking at many levels but the protection was solid against a decent New England pass rush.

Graham Glasgow was the lone sore spot on the offensive line. He showed well last year in his limited action but this was not a good performance for him. He looks to be the sure starter heading into week one, so he is going to have to improve to help shore up an otherwise impressive offensive line.

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Stafford threw a beautiful deep pass to Marvin Jones on the sideline. Jones dragged his feet but the ball moved when he hit the ground and the refs ruled the play incomplete. The next play was an interception that was tipped into the air off Kenny Golladay. The pass appeared to be intended for Marvin Jones but Golladay’s route crossed the path of the ball. The promising drive was brought to an immediate halt. This is an issue with play design.

Marvin Jones looked good this game. His route running looked improved and he made some really nice plays on the ball. His usage looked largely the same as it did last year. He was primarily a deep threat, which is slightly disappointing. Fans were looking for him to take a step forward and become a more multi-dimensional wide receiver. That wasn’t necessarily the case in this Lions vs. Patriots match up, but this was a small sample size.

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Jake Rudock looked good when he came in with the second team offense. He made some really nice throws and moved around outside the pocket really well. His mechanics and footwork still need work but this was a really good showing for him. He looks like he has a strong hold on the second quarterback spot. That would mean that either Kaaya heads to the practice squad, or the Lions keep three quarterbacks.

Dwayne Washington looks like a lock to make the roster at this point. He is handling return duties, he looks improved in the run game, and his vision and patience are better. Washington is running well, albeit with the second stringers but still running well. He got the bulk of the work with the second team offense today. Dwayne Washington looked really poor last year but he has appeared much improved throughout camp and preseason this year.

Jace Billingsley and Jared Abbrederis appear to be fighting for the final wide receiver spot. Both have looked really good throughout camp and both had really nice games today. Abbrederis caught a touchdown pass from Jake Rudock, while Billingsley made a few really nice catches and is really shifty after the catch.

Lions vs. Patriots: Extra Notes

Penalties and discipline were a huge issue throughout this game. It is preseason but this stuff needs to get cleaned up. The defense committed multiple penalties in coverage. Ngata got called for what appeared to be a debatable defensive holding call. They covered up the center on an extra point which led to a two point conversion. These are things that cannot happen in the regular season. This is really discouraging to see in what is typically the most important game of the preseason.

Coaching and game preperation needs to be better, this cannot be overstated. The team did not show up ready to play. The game plan was not appropriate for the team they were facing. On defense, players were constantly put in unfavorable situations. Jarrad Davis should not be in coverage against Julian Edelman. Quandre Diggs at 5 feet and 9 inches, should not be manned up against Rob Gronkowski. These are things that can be blamed on the coaches. It’s preseason, so the game planning will be more diligent when the regular season starts but this was not a good preview of what fans have to look forward to.

Dwayne Washington took the first couple of kick return reps, Agnew followed with the next couple. At this point, it appears to be a two horse race. I still think Agnew could win that job but Washington is still in the mix and likely in the lead. Agnew muffed a punt early in the second half. You can’t do that as a guy that is fighting for both a starting position and a roster spot. He is a really talented player that needed to have a much better showing in this game.

The Lions stayed mostly healthy, that is always good to see in a preseason game. The primary concern was seeing Golladay leave with an ankle injury. It is unclear how serious it is but it doesn’t appear to be anything to be overly concerned about yet. Cole Wick took a hard hit on a high throw by Stafford but appears to be fine. Tahir Whitehead suffered a knee injury, but there is little information on it thus far.

Thanks for checking out the article everyone. Go Lions! You can follow me on Twitter @Lanny1925 and be sure to join the community on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Sean Lanigan
I love fantasy football, fantasy baseball, music, books, video games, and all things nerd. I'm a big football fan and a bigger Detroit Lions fan. I was born in Michigan but have spent the vast majority of my life living in Viking and Packer country. If you are a Lions fan in Minnesota, hit me up, and let's watch some football.